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5 Indispensable Qualities of a Great Leader

5 Indispensable Qualities of a Great Leader

You’ve seen them. Effectively directing the flow of a group activity. All eyes eagerly upon them for guidance and inspiration as they speak or move or…heck, just stand there. Something about their energy is magnetic. So much so, people feel compelled to follow. And this is in preschool.

Some people were born leaders. It’s a fact. No one taught that two-year-old to be the ambassador of the crayons. And yet she takes it upon herself to be just that. Divvying out the amounts she deems appropriate to her fellow toddlers. The good leader will be fair. The bad leader will give the broken ones to the boy who keeps crying for his mother.

Today’s focus is on the good leader, the benefits and how anyone can be one, whether naturally appointed or not. Solid leadership has far reaching effects for both the leader and everyone they come in contact with. Good leaders are essential to the success of most everything  as they not only make for productive and loyal employees, but they also contribute to happy households, healthy friendship circles and enhance truly any social human experience from the PTA to the President.

The truth is this. People who always manage to be in charge in whatever situation do possess some distinctive inherent leadership qualities. And while not everyone may have been born with the scepter to rule the masses, these known characteristics of a leader are available to anyone with the desire to learn.

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Confidence Not Conceit

how to become a better leader

    Leaders, real leaders, don’t think they can do it. They know they can. People who tend to make their way to the top have little to no self-doubt. They are confident in their ability, believe they have something to offer and generally feel they can do a better job than the next guy. This is the healthy confidence a leader possesses.

    Leadership is a position of power, however, so there is always a danger of it going to one’s head. This could be the difference between a good and not so great leader. A good leader knows they are not perfect, which is part and parcel to their other good leadership characteristics. In the workplace, you can bet employees notice confidence levels when they must answer to someone  on a daily basis. If a leader doesn’t exude it, he surely will begin to lose his loyal following. On the flip side, a leader with an overly-inflated ego and an inability to admit fault could encourage harbored resentment and even eventual mutiny.

    If you’re looking to learn how to become a better leader, this is perhaps going to be the most important thing you need to keep in mind.

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    Know Your People/Know Yourself

    No, not just their names and birth dates. Leaders, good leaders, understand who they are leading. What are they about, what are their skills, what are their strong points, what are their goals and needs? In a family, a father knows his kids and treats them as individuals, knowing instinctively how they best fit in and contribute to the family.

    At work, people in leadership roles must pay attention to personalities and strengths and listen to people’s needs and goals. Then they can utilize them in a way that both the employees and the company wins. This also requires the leader take personal inventory to identify their own weaknesses and shortcomings and then draw on the strengths of others by the art of delegating.  A good leader, with good leadership skills, knows how to delegate effectively like this, based on his understanding of himself and his people.

    Communication is Key

    leadership qualities

      Johnny tells Brandy she’s a great skateboarder but not to ride on the asphalt because she could fall since she isn’t that experienced. Brandy nods her head, bats her eyes (hee hee) and happily rides it somewhere else. Johnny, the leader of the group, communicated to his friend why she shouldn’t do something. Instead of getting annoyed, she appreciated it.

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      This is the demeanor of a good leader. Clear communication is essential. A good leader not only reprimands but gives positive, constructive feedback. Everyone needs to hear they did a good job on something. There is no better motivation to keep up the good work. Great leaders have this figured out. In addition, they should in turn encourage honest, non-consequential feedback from their employees.  Leaders may have to train themselves to not get defensive and take it personally — to look at negative feedback as a way to not only self-improve but set an example of how to handle constructive criticism like a boss (no pun intended of course).

      Take the Blame

      As the leader, you’re running the ship. So when something goes wrong, blame yourself. Everyone is looking to you and there is power in taking responsibility. Such a display of accountability will speak volumes and set the perfect example for others to do the same should things go awry.  It’s an excellent show of a leader’s  trustworthiness and integrity. From there, solutions can be found and prevention can be put in place. Taking the blame.  It’s very empowering.

      Maintain a Sense of Humor

      Maintain a Sense of Humor

        It’s just good form. Far too much can go wrong in life – in relationships, at home, at work. Without humor, people could be crying 24/7. But if those in charge can laugh about most things, what a relief for the rest of the crew. There is probably no better way for a leader to create a bond with those reporting to them than to maintain a sense of humor.

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        It dispels tensions, makes things comfortable and opens up lines of communication. It increases staff morale which of course increases productivity in the workplace. Plus, it’s just fun. And who doesn’t want to have fun? Leaders with senses of humor typically develop devout followings because even in the face of crisis, they can count on their leader to diffuse the situation with a good laugh.

        When it comes to developing good leadership qualities, most people hardly focus on this quality. However, it’s certainly a very important one and hence something you must work on.

        You Can Do It

        Bottom line is anyone can be a leader. Just believe you can be without a doubt, understand your people, talk to them about what’s good and bad, teach them accountability by example and be willing to laugh it off if occasionally  they (or you) screw up. Any questions?

        Featured photo credit: Nurturing leadership in the outsourcing industry via wns.com

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        Anand Mishra

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        Last Updated on February 11, 2021

        Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

        Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

        How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

        Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

        The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

        Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

        Perceptual Barrier

        The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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        The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

        The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

        Attitudinal Barrier

        Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

        The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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        The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

        Language Barrier

        This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

        The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

        The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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        Emotional Barrier

        Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

        The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

        The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

        Cultural Barrier

        Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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        The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

        The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

        Gender Barrier

        Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

        The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

        The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

        And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

        Reference

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